On 21st November, the Japan AFL Grand Final was held. In a repeat of the 2003 season finale, it was the Tokyo Goannas, the primarily expatriate Australian club, up against the University-based Samurai. The Uni boys provided most of the players who recently toured Australia (see previous stories), and have shown much improved form in 2004.
Several weeks ago the Tokyo Goannas (of the Japan AFL) and Box Hill North (from the Victorian Amateur Football Association) announced the winner of their 2004 scholarship. As in 2003, it allowed a player from BHN to travel to Japan for about three weeks, to train and play with the Samurais, a University based side. It helps further build on the links established between BHN and the Japanese league. The following is from the Tokyo Goannas website.
A dedicated group of footy faithfuls in the Kansai area of Japan are doing their bit to ensure footy in Japan is not just confined to Tokyo. Next Sunday a women's match, a kid's match and a men's 3-team tournament will take place in Osaka, highlighting the great developments that continue to be made footywise in the Kansai region, and in Japan as a whole.
When the Multicultural Cup was staged earlier this year, a Lebanese side took the field in connection with efforts by Lebanese-Melburnians who were setting up the structures for an Aussie Rules competition in Lebanon. The Croatian side in attendance also had links to compatriots hoping to foster their new homeland's number one code in the old country. Now the Vietnamese are getting in on the act.
In part two of WFN's feature on development in Japan and Vietnam, we caught up with Vietnam captain Tri Thoi.
On August 18th the All-Japan Samurai met the Melbourne Vietnamese at Box Hill North's Elgar Park. The Samurai ran out comfortable 13.13 to 6.8 victors in a match marked by some impressive skills from a Japanese squad much improved from the side that travelled to the 2002 cup and some explosive pace from both sides.
In part one of our two-part feature on Aussie Rules development in the two nations, WFN's Aaron Richard talks with Samurai Coach Troy Beard.